STOP TRANQ Act sparks conversation about when to use Narcan

Last week, U.S. senators Tim Kaine and Ted Cruz introduced the STOP TRANQ Act, a bill that would require reporting on xylazine, or “tranq,” in the State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. In a social media post about the bill, Senator Cruz wrote, “What is tranq? It is a non-opiate tranquilizer—meaning if you overdose on fentanyl and tranq simultaneously, Narcan won’t work.” A doctor quoted in a news article about the bill presented a similar narrative: “If you gave someone that had xylazine and fentanyl on board, that caused them to stop breathing, or caused their heart to slow down so much that it becomes life-threatening, the Narcan you give them would not save their life.”


This messaging about xylazine and Narcan may spark public confusion about when to administer Narcan. Ensuring that informational materials, especially on websites and in toolkits for community-based organizations, include clear instructions on when and how to use Narcan is recommended. Messaging may emphasize that while naloxone—often sold under the brand name “Narcan”—cannot stop xylazine overdoses, it can stop overdoses caused by fentanyl and other opioids. The CDC recommends administering naloxone any time an opioid overdose is suspected, since fentanyl may be involved on its own or in combination with xylazine. Trending conversations about xylazine or Narcan also provide an opportunity to push out messaging that outlines the signs of opioid overdose.